Over the last decade, Denny Hamlin has fostered a strong bond with NBA Hall of Famer Michael Jordan. The two have become close friends, leading Hamlin to increase Jordan’s involvement in NASCAR to ownership of a racing team in 2021. It has also seen him convince the former Chicago Bulls great to admit something he never does.
Michael Jordan cultivates friendship with Denny Hamlin
Michael Jordan has long had an affinity for NASCAR that dates back to his childhood.
His connection to the sport only grew stronger in retirement from his illustrious NBA career as his ownership of the Charlotte Hornets opened the opportunity for another unique bond. Jordan has fostered a friendship with longtime NASCAR driver Denny Hamlin, a longtime Hornets season ticket holder.
Over the last several years, Hamlin and Jordan have golfed together and share a strong passion for the game of basketball. All of that has created a tighter bond between them through NASCAR.
Their friendship also created the opportunity for Hamlin to convince Jordan to do something that he never does.
Denny Hamlin convinced Michael Jordan to admit he’s better than him
Over the last several years, Denny Hamlin has cultivated a strong friendship with Michael Jordan.
The bond was strong enough for Hamlin to bet with Jordan, with the possible award being the former Bulls great making a substantial admission. After winning the first race of the NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup at Chicagoland Speedway in September 2015, he texted Jordan to see the words he long wanted to read. (H/T Yahoo Sports)
“The first thing I’m going to do is text Michael Jordan,” Hamlin said. “He texted me on Wednesday. He said he was in Monte‑Carlo. I popped in his head like I always do, which I thought was a little odd. He says, I know you’re about to head into the playoffs. I just want you to know I’ve never admitted to anybody that anyone is better than me at anything my whole life. But if you win this race this weekend, I will admit that you’re a better driver than I am.”
“I thought, Wow, that would be awesome. I just thought of that just now. So the first thing I’m going to do is text him and say, Admit it, I’m better than you, and I want everyone to know.”
Jordan isn’t one to boast that anybody is better than him at anything, let alone basketball, due to his unwavering competitiveness. The fact that Hamlin got the NBA Hall of Famer to voice those words is a tremendous honor and moment.
Bond continues to grow stronger
Since this situation, Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan have continued to strengthen their bond through NASCAR.
Last year, it saw Jordan and Hamlin announce that they would be putting out a single-car team for the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series named 23XI Racing that will feature Bubba Wallace driving the No. 23 car.
Since the two first sparked their friendship at a then-Charlotte Bobcats game in 2009, their connection has grown immensely. That alone led to Hamlin becoming the first NASCAR athlete for Jordan Brand.
The 40-year-old has played a pivotal role in the Bulls’
great becoming a more significant factor in the NASCAR world. There are many more avenues where things can head in the coming years with Jordan’s involvement in the sport expanding further.